Klaus-Martin Meyer: Hello Zack, in my awareness there is no other crowdfunding platform that has managed to finance such a high volume in such a short period of time. What is the key to your success taken into account that OurCrowd is based in Israel and not in a big market like the US?
Zack Miller: Our entire management team at OurCrowd has decades of hands-on investment experience. I think that differentiates us from some of the other platforms out there. Additionally, we believe our model works better for investors: the companies that appear on our website all go through a thorough due-diligence process and we invest our own money in these companies as well. I believe that positions us on the investor side of the table as we work to maximize the return on our investments. Early stage investing is so fraught with risk that we built OurCrowd in a way that we think helps improve our investors‘ chances for success.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: You are working only with accredited investors at the moment. Will you change this point one day in order to enable everyone to invest in interesting start ups?
Zack Miller: There’s a lot of talk in the US primarily about opening up equity crowdfunding to the masses. Currently, we’re limited to providing access to accredited investors and that’s a good thing. We’ve designed our deaflow and investor processes to be inline with our investor base. We’re monitoring the market very closely as things develop.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: You are cooperating with GE Ventures. How important is this partnership for OurCrowd?
Zack Miller: It’s actually a relationship with GE Ventures very important relationship and is one of the first examples of a Fortune 10 company partnering with an equity crowdfunding platform. GE is an extremely innovative and forward-looking company and is looking to OurCrowd to help with our highly-curated early stage dealflow.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: A couple of weeks you started in Australia with a local team. Can you tell us something about your progress down under?
Zack Miller: From the first day OurCrowd opened its doors, we’ve been received extremely warmly in the Australian market. Some of our earliest and best investors are Australians who recognize the value we bring to tap into the startup market in Israel. As our relationships have matured and we’ve begun to think about internationalizing our offering, Australia was an obvious first choice.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: What are your future plans. Will you target any other international markets?
Zack Miller: We already have active investors from 26 different countries in our Israeli offerings. The next step is to identify global investment opportunities. An Australian rollout is already underway. 4 of our last 10 investments were in startups domiciled outside of Israel. Israel will always remain our core investment destination as the innovation and creativity of the Startup Nation imbues all our investment activity. In 2014, expect to see us continue to identify more investment opportunities in the US. As we expand, we’re definitely looking to be a global platform.